With every year that passes, more states are becoming more relaxed when it comes to marijuana. From decriminalization to medicinal use to legalization, there is a lot of promise for supporters of cannabis in America.
In particular, the marijuana movement in Michigan is becoming increasingly strong. With a majority of citizens in support of legalization you can almost be certain that legalizing marijuana will be a hot topic during the election next year. Until then, we’re counting on a number of signs pointing Michigan in the direction of legalizing marijuana.
In 1972, Ann Arbor become the first city within the State of Michigan to decriminalize marijuana. Since then, 17 other cities in the state followed suit, including the Motor City itself: Detroit. It’s been a while since Michigan took another step forward in the decriminalization movement and if this state does want to make a statement, the next step is legalization. Their history of moderate acceptance within cities is key, not because there are so many of them, but because many of the key ridings such as Detroit and the state’s capital, Lansing, have become more accepting of marijuana.
With an overwhelming 70% of Michigan residents under 30 in support of legalization, the legal weed debate could be a deciding factor in this election for young voters. In 2012 only 45% of the individuals in this age group (18-29) claim to have voted, but if legalizing marijuana is on the table, voter turnout among youth may increase slightly. With added state revenue from marijuana taxation, a potential decrease in crime and a number of other benefits related to legalization, politicians might look to this issue to curry favor with young voters in the upcoming election. This is not to say that being in favor of marijuana legalization in the state will be the politician’s golden ticket to the senate, but it may help in key ridings.
In addition to voter interest and key ridings supporting the herb, Michigan has passed a medicinal marijuana bill. In 2008, 63% of voters voted in favor of medicinal marijuana Proposal 1—the second highest voter-supported proposal to be passed in any state. With such strong support for this shift, it’s safe to assume that the 56% majority mentioned earlier is a promising statistic. With a booming, competitive marijuana industry in America, supporters are holding strong and the state is finding ways to make the sale and use of cannabis a lot safer for all stakeholders. Advocacy groups are constantly bombarding state government with bill proposals, similar to what happened in Colorado, Oregon and Alaska before legalization occurred. This interest from the state, dispensaries, users and advocacy groups will only grow until marijuana is legalized.
Michigan’s decriminalization momentum not only has potential, but also promises that legalization may not be far behind. With a majority in support as well as strong advocacy movements, it may not be long before we see the home state of Motown and other American cultural staples become the home to one more: legal, recreational cannabis.